Wednesday | 10 Nov 2021

Debutant Suninen encouraged after Italy test

Teemu Suninen says he already feels comfortable in a Hyundai i20 World Rally Car following a test ahead of next week’s FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza (18 - 21 November).

The 27-year-old Finn completed his first kilometres in the car in Italy last week in preparation for his Hyundai top-level debut at next week’s season finale. He will deputise for Ott Tänak, who is unavailable due to personal family reasons.

“I came from the test happy,” said Suninen. “I have a good feeling and the car is comfortable. It felt quite easy to drive, which was nice. I could take the confidence quite soon.

“OK, it was one-day test, so not so much time for working on lots of settings. I did work on the areas for the set-up. My set-up is going to be quite like the other guys, but I’m happy with that. I know I will have to adapt to the car, but I’m ready to do that.”

Prior to driving the car for the first time in the mountains near Bergamo, Suninen spent time with team-mate Thierry Neuville during the Belgian’s test.

Video: Top 5 reasons to watch FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza

“It was good to be there with Thierry,” he said. “It’s interesting to see what he’s talking about and the changes he was making with the car.”

After an early exit at Monza last season, Suninen hopes to make more of an impact at this year’s event.

“I didn’t drive the mountain roads last year,” he explained, “so I have to learn these a bit. The weather was quite changing a lot also last year – I hope we have something more consistent next week.

“I had a test mainly in the dry, so it would be nice to run in those conditions. I know more about the car for that set-up and it would give me the best chance to show what I can do on the Tarmac.”

Suninen debuted for Hyundai in WRC2 in Spain last month

Suninen began the season with M-Sport Ford but quit the British squad in August after a disappointing series of results in the top-tier and WRC2 categories.

He joins Neuville and Dani Sordo in Hyundai’s line-up as the team bids to stage an unlikely snatch-and-grab of the manufacturers’ title from Toyota Gazoo Racing. Toyota leads by 47 points and requires only five more from the three-day asphalt encounter to regain the title from Hyundai.

Suninen competed for Hyundai Motorsport for the first time when he drove an i20 N Rally2 to second place in WRC2 in Spain last month.

• Full coverage from FORUM8 ACI Rally Monza will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park.

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